Top throwers return to Rathdrum

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Best U.S. pros, high schoolers in hammer, shot, discus expected to compete Saturday

There’s going to be some more big-time throwers at the 1620 on Saturday.

Two years ago, throws guru Bart Templeman hosted some of the top men’s throwers in the U.S. for a meet on his 5-acre compound at 1620 Highway 53 in Rathdrum.

They call the facility “1620,” though technically it’s dubbed the IronWood Training Center, named after the IronWood Throwers Camp started by Templeman and fellow throws guru Bud Rasmussen in 1989.

On Saturday, the top men’s and women’s throwers in the U.S. as well as top high school boys’ and girls’ throwers as well have been invited to the IronWood Throws Classic at 1620 — er, the IronWood Training Center in Rathdrum.

The event is scheduled to begin shortly before 1 p.m. with the hammer throw, followed by the shot put, then the discus. The women will compete in each event first, followed by the men.

“If you’re a track buff and like the throws, you’re going to be in heaven,” Templeman said. “Right now, there’s not a lot of meets before the (Olympic) Trials (July 1-10 in Eugene).”

Obviously the high school kids will compete against the high school kids, and throw the lighter-weighted implements, but during the competition on Saturday, they will be mixed in with the pros as they throw.

“The only other place that does this is in Chicago,” Templeman said. “So we’re kind of unique, bringing the high school kids in to throw with the big dogs.”

By mixing in the younger throwers with the older ones, “they want to keep kids in the pipeline” for throwing events as they get older, rather than lose them to other sports.

Saturday’s meet is a USA Track and Field-sanctioned meet. Many of the athletes’ expenses are being covered by the USATF, Under Armour and the IronWood Track Club.

The IronWood Throwers Camp is putting up $15,000 in prize money, with $2,500 going to the top four men and women pros each in the hammer, shot and discus — $1,000 for first place, $700 for second, $500 for third, $300 for fourth.

The hammer field is led by A.G. Kruger, who represented the U.S. in the last three Olympics, and is regarded as one of the best hammer throwers of all time.

Eight of the top 10 Americans in the men’s discus are expected to compete, led by Lance Brooks, a 2012 Olympian and a member of two world championship teams, reigning national champion Jarred Schuurmans, who was on the world championship team last year, Jason Young, a 2012 Olympian and a member of two world championship teams, and former University of Idaho standout Russ Winger.

Jarred Rome, who took over the IronWood Throwers Camp from Templeman a few years ago, and is helping bring in some of the top throwers for Saturday’s meet, was on the 2012 Olympic team, as well as two world championship teams.

Local fans may also remember Rome, currently the throws coach at Concordia College in Portland, as a training partner of former Post Falls High standout and twotime Olympian discus thrower Ian Waltz for some 15 years.

Among the top shot putters expected is Jordan Clarke, an NCAA champ from Arizona State and a world championship team member last year.

As for the women, Stephanie Brown-Trafton won the gold in the discus in 2008 — the first American, man or woman, to bring home the gold in that event since 1976.

As for the high school kids, Rome said there would be three shot putters that have thrown 70 feet (Rome said he threw 58 feet in high school), along with a 215foot discus thrower (Waltz holds the state record at slightly over 200 feet), and a female discus thrower who has gone 170 feet.

The most “local” high school thrower expected to compete is Kirk Unland of Ferris High in Spokane, who won the hammer with a toss of 207-7 at last weekend’s Washington state 4A meet

“For me, we’re all ex-Olympians ... we’re all in it to help the next group,” Rome said. “Bart, nobody helps out throwers like he does.”

Rome said this meet is only one of four in the U.S. this year to offer prize money to pros — last weekend’s Prefontaine Classic in Eugene being one of the others.

Since the last meet at 1620 two years ago, Templeman has purchased 5 more acres adjacent to his current throws property. Spectators are asked to park in that 5-acre open field (parking will be marked) at the corner of Ramsey Road and Highway 53, and walk to the throws facility.

Fans are encouraged to arrive early, as the hammer throwers will begin warming up around noon.

Admission is free.

Templeman is also excited that the IronWood Throwers Camp, which started in Coeur d’Alene before moving to Spokane and later to Cheney, is returning to the Lake City for the first time in some 15 years. This year’s camp, which annually attracts the top high school throwers in the country, is scheduled for July 11-16. Campers will be boarded and fed at North Idaho College, and bused to Lake City High for most of the throwing events. The hammer throwers will be brought to 1620.

They’ve downsized the camp a bit after it outgrew having it in Coeur d’Alene, said Templeman, who has petitioned the Idaho High School Activities Association several times to add the javelin to Idaho high school track and field. Plus, “we want to keep the money in the community,” he said.

Rome attended the camp some 20 years ago.

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